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Psalms 38:4-8

Context

38:4 For my sins overwhelm me; 1 

like a heavy load, they are too much for me to bear.

38:5 My wounds 2  are infected and starting to smell, 3 

because of my foolish sins. 4 

38:6 I am dazed 5  and completely humiliated; 6 

all day long I walk around mourning.

38:7 For I am overcome with shame 7 

and my whole body is sick. 8 

38:8 I am numb with pain and severely battered; 9 

I groan loudly because of the anxiety I feel. 10 

1 tn Heb “pass over my head.”

2 sn The reference to wounds may be an extension of the metaphorical language of v. 2. The psalmist pictures himself as one whose flesh is ripped and torn by arrows.

3 tn Heb “my wounds stink, they are festering” (cf. NEB).

4 tn Heb “from before my foolishness.”

5 tn The verb’s precise shade of meaning in this context is not entirely clear. The verb, which literally means “to bend,” may refer to the psalmist’s posture. In Isa 21:3 it seems to mean “be confused, dazed.”

6 tn Heb “I am bowed down to excess.”

7 tn Heb “for my loins are filled with shame.” The “loins” are viewed here as the seat of the psalmist’s emotions. The present translation assumes that נִקְלֶה (niqleh) is derived from קָלָה (qalah, “be dishonored”). Some derive it instead from a homonymic root קָלָה (qalah), meaning “to roast.” In this case one might translate “fever” (cf. NEB “my loins burn with fever”).

8 tn Heb “there is no soundness in my flesh” (see v. 3).

9 tn Heb “I am numb and crushed to excess.”

10 tn Heb “I roar because of the moaning of my heart.”



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